Laugh or Cry.. I Choose To Laugh! (usually)

As usual, this has been a very entertaining week in our house.  As much as these kids tire me out and often leave me longing for 8 pm every night.. they constantly brighten my life with unexpected laugh-out-loud moments (usually leaving the serious child completely perplexed!)!  Here are a few of the most recent amusements:

We recently dined at a restaurant that had a deer head mounted above a large fireplace.  Devika was extremely intrigued with this - she kept saying: "He's stuck!  He's stuck!", and and trying to look for the rest of his body on the opposite side of the fireplace.

    This morning, in middle of a tantrum, Devi shut a drawer on something.  I said 'Devi - can you please fix that?'.. she paused her screaming and replied:  'No, I'm not done whining yet!'   

    Maya:  "Mom, are you 40??"
    Me:  "Yes"
    Maya:  "OH NO!  You're going to die soon!!"     Nice.

    Maya easily memorizes her favorite books, and she memorized ''Twas The Night Before Christmas' almost immediately upon hearing it.  She loved it and has recited it many times.  Last night, she was 'reading' the book to her little sister, and I overheard this sentence:
    "He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, 
    And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and sh*t"

    I am going to leave you today with a bit of parenting wisdom that I have gained recently:

    You can spend hours searching your house for that ever-elusive black permanent marker.  A 3-yr old, however, can find the same marker in seconds - and have her face painted and your business paperwork drawn-on within 30 seconds.

    Yoga is relaxing.  Vino is relaxing.  Combining the two sounds delicious!  :)



      Today was ‘dentist day’ for Maya.  A day that I always dread. 
      I have been taking her to the same pediatric dentist every 6 months since she was one year old.  Every appointment has been the same – she somewhat handles the ‘tooth tickler’ tooth polisher.. but completely melts down when the hygienist sprays water in her mouth and sucks it back out.  From that point forward, she is always a mess – tries to sit up, tries to clamp her mouth shut, cries, grabs for mommy..  it is ugly.   


      Her dentist is always awesome with her and calmly reminds her that she has never, ever hurt her.. and that she is only looking at her teeth, etc.   Dr. Autumn always gets the job done, but it is a wrenching experience for everyone. 
      So here we are today.. I am dreading the visit.  I am talking it up – how fun it is, how pretty her teeth will be, how it is never ‘hurty’.  Maya is being calm, but talks about how she hates the water spray and, even more so, the water ‘sucker’.  
      We drive to the dentist’s new facility – it is so much larger and brighter.. very nice step up!  We enter the main room for x-ray and cleaning, and see 6 ‘tables’ (the kids lay down flat on their backs rather than in a chair).. with 4 of them being used.  A couple of the kids are pretty young – probably 6 or 7 years old.  There are no parents in the room.  

      And.. Maya was AWESOME!!   
      She was quiet and nervous, but she made it through the x-ray with no problems.. and then she allowed her teeth to be cleaned – deciding she LIKED the water sprayer (after the hygienist allowed her to take drinks from it).. and she even did great with the water ‘sucker’!   She opened wide for the dentist and was very calm and smiley.  She was actually ecstatic when the dentist told her that one of her teeth is starting to be loose (not remotely wiggley yet, but will be at some point in the possibly-near-future)!
      At the end of the cleaning, Maya even suggested that I should go sit in the waiting room!!  (ok she not-so-politely said ‘Mom – go out of the room!’)    

      I seriously cannot express how excited I am about this milestone.  Truly a momentous day.  Sometimes you actually reach that light at the end of the tunnel – no matter how dim it looks some days!!


      I was so proud of Maya that I took her to Red Robin with me for an early dinner (Aj was home with Devi).   We were enjoying our meal while Maya was chatting away about various subjects (real and Maya-reality)… I was only ½-listening, as much of the conversation revolved around her bear and the fact that he wasn’t listening to her this morning and required a time-out.  

      Maya paused for a minute in her chatting, looked at me with her ‘I’m only 5, but I am acting like I am 25’ look.. and said, with her most grown-up lite and amicable conversational tone:  “So, did you used to want to buy a baby that wasn’t Indian?”


      Me:   “What did you say?”  

      Maya:  “Did you used to want to buy a baby that wasn’t Indian?”  

       Me:  “First of all, people do not ‘BUY’ babies.   We didn’t buy you or your sister.  We ADOPTED you.  Big difference.   Not about money.. there were lots of steps to find you and for you to find us.. and for us to become a family.”

      Me:  “And secondly, we chose to adopt children from India because Daddy is Indian and because we have always known that there are many, many girl babies in India who need families.”
      YIKES.  Ok that was completely unexpected and random.  She was satisfied with my answers.. she wasn’t looking concerned or anything.. merely curious.  Very interesting.  I wonder what spawned that question?  


      These type of mom-experiences probably are to explain the fact that I accidentally wore two different shoes the other day.   
      Yes, that’s right.. two different sneakers (at least they looked remotely similar.. remotely).  All day.  Took Devi to therapy and took off my shoes and put them back on without noticing.  Ran errands.  Picked kids up at school.   
      Two different shoes.
      I finally noticed late that afternoon.  Would you like to know what is truly sad about that experience?  

       I wasn’t even embarrassed.  


      And What A Year It Was


      Hard to believe, but we have bid adieu to the year 2010.  And what a year it was.  I began the year in a grief-stricken haze.. having lost my mother in late November of ’09, and then losing my beloved grandmother in early February of 2010.  The haze hung around for several months – slowly transforming into the dull ache of loss that is now, and forever will be, imprinted in my heart. 
      Somewhere outside of the haze, however, the earth continued revolving and life marched on. It’s a little disconcerting how that happens.  Your world is rocked and you feel like only a shell of the person you were not long before.. but you are forced to continue plodding forward.   
      Good thing I guess, or some of us would likely still be standing in one lonely spot.
      Well, life sure didn’t slow down for me.  Parenting 5 and 3 year old kids will keep you moving, whether you want to or not! 
      My girls are so very amazing, fantastically-entertaining, and full of orneriness.  Maya turned 5 and entered Kindergarten this year.  I can barely believe it.  She is learning so much – I am constantly amazed by the knowledge she is gaining in just kindergarten.  Crazy!
      Outside of the ‘3 R’s’, she seems to be excelling at a few extracurricular studies, such as: 
      • Slang Words 101
      • Finding Humor In Body Part Names and Excretions
      • The Power of Independent Thinking (aka: ‘It’s MY Choice!!’)
      • Beginning Drama
        • Including such important topics as: ‘He isn’t invited to my birthday party!’, ‘I will never be your friend!’, and ‘How to Properly Sing-Song The Words ‘Ha Ha HAAAAA’ While Contorting Your Neck, Hips, and Facial Features To Convey Complete Meaning’
      Yes, it has been quite a year of new experiences.  Maya is attending a new school, and has found a best friend and .. fiancĂ©? – Garrett.  I was told a few days ago that she and Garrett are going to live together someday, so they will be getting married.  I’m glad she is holding onto traditional values!
       Her major concerns have become – how to run as fast as Garrett (we bought new ‘fast’ shoes, but she still can’t catch him); how to get out of ever wearing a skirt or dress so that she can match Garrett (thankfully her school has uniforms, and I only require her to wear a skirt or dress one day per week – tho this day is always a nightmare, filled with tears and vehement negotiations); how to wear boy-clothing as much as possible (wants everything to be blue, wears boy coat, gloves, hat, backpack, etc.) 
      Maya, at 5 yrs old, is one of the slowest kids ever.  She walks so slowly into and out of school from carpool, that all of the carpool helpers know our car and rush to help her in the morning.  One of them recently told me that she doesn’t know how I deal with the slooooowness.  She prays for me.   
      I’ll take any help I can get!  ..though maybe she should be praying for Maya and her fast-shoes.
      Maya also spends much of her time in Maya-land.  She has a VERY active imagination and can be in a conversation with you and suddenly go off into Maya-land.  She walks around talking to her imaginery friends (who are actual friends in real world – such as Garrett and Raina, etc) quite often.  Reads them books, makes them food, hosts parties.  It is hilarious!  We are very happy she can entertain herself, but hope that she doesn’t get too lost in this world! 

      Maya’s Best of 2010:

      Color:  Anything and Everything Blue
      TV Show:  Caillou
      Movie:  Alvin & The Chipmunks (the original – NOT, god forbid, the sequel.. or ‘squeak-uel’ that they call it)
      Line:  ‘My tail isn’t bushy ‘til 9 am!’  (from Alvin.  For awhile her line was ‘Slam it, sexy!’.. which in actuality was ‘Clam it, Sudsy!’ .. she got the words a bit incorrect.. – again from Alvin movie.  That one was disconcerting and took me quite some time to decipher and pinpoint the origin!!)
      Amusing Anecdote:  I recently took Maya to see a rheumatoid specialist due to her constant knee and toe pains (turned out to simply be very loose joints and he recommended some PT to strengthen surrounding muscles).  He asked her several questions, which she answered very seriously.  This was my fav:
      Doctor:  When do you have pain? 
      Maya:  When it hurts.

      Food:  Chicken nuggets from Chik-Fil-A ONLY.  Noodles with sauce on the side.  Pretty much nothing that takes mom longer than 5 minutes to prepare (seriously, why do I try??)
      Drink:  Propel or vanilla shakes
      Ice Cream Flavor:  Vanilla or Peppermint .. or anything that Daddy is eating.
      Best Friends:  Garrett, Raina, Bear-Bear, Devi
      Future Occupation (in her words): Pediatric Neurosurgeon

      Devika is also doing well.  We are continuing to work with her Sensory Processing Disorder challenges, but she is making progress.  Her verbal skills are continuing to improve, which is helpful.   She is gaining some social skills, though this still needs work.  She is in an IEP program preschool, which I believe has helped her with these skills.  It is slow, but I’ve recently seen her actually say hello to a child at a playplace and ask the child’s name.  She also tried to play with a friend who was visiting our house recently – chasing her and calling her name.  Whoohoo!

      I have been worrying about her at school, though.  Her preschool class is ages 2 ½ - 5.. and she is absolutely the youngest (developmentally) child in the class.  The other kids sometimes make fun of her or make comments about her behavior.. I’ve heard this when picking her up from school.  While she is clueless right now, it still hurts my heart a bit to hear this.  Aj and I have actually made the decision, just tonight, to pull her out of school.  Our main reason is that her schedule is insane right now and too much for ME, much less a 3-yr old.  She is currently in school (2 1/2 hrs) on Mon/Tues/Thurs.. and in therapy (see next paragraph!) on Wed/Fri/Sat.  It's a bit extreme I think.. and I would like to see if she improves with a lesser schedule.  

      We are very blessed to live within travel distance of the Star Center in Denver, CO.  This center is a clinic that focuses solely on SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).  Devi began, a few weeks ago, a 10-week intense therapy regimen that we are very excited about.  The regimen also includes parent education (as well as requires one parent to take part in every therapy session – which are held 3x/week).  I cannot tell you how excited I am about this program!!  The Star Center is the only clinic of its type in the world – and people travel there from many different countries.   We saw a family last week who were staying here for 10 weeks – far from their home in Australia.

      In just our few weeks at the Star Center, I am extremely impressed.  Devi has had local gov’t funded occupational therapy for the past 1 ½ yrs, but it was far from the level of care she is now receiving at Star.  I’m not bashing the local care.. as obviously this is like the difference between a general practitioner MD and a cardiologist.  The Star Center was founded by the doctor who ‘discovered’ and began the research on SPD – approximately 30 years ago.  If you are interested in this topic at all, take a look at their website.  They have a vast array of information and resources given/listed/linked-to on their site.  It is very informative.  Again, I just cannot say enough about how lucky we are to be able to send Devi through their program!!  They have already seen things in her behavior and given us tips to help her that are/were entirely new to us.  Just today we had our first ‘parent education’ meeting and are armed with new strategies to work on at home.  Yay!

      Other updates about Devi..  she still has zillions of tantrums (tho we are learning how to work through them), is terrified of loud noises (tho she also seeks them out) and exhibits many unsafe behaviors – all which we are told are stemming from the SPD challenges.  I greatly appreciated her therapist telling us today that everything she has seen from Devika through her therapy sessions is directly attributed to SPD and not behavioral issues (other than the potty training, we aren’t sure what is going on with that fully yet).

      Of course, some of her behavior is attributed to the fact that she is 3 yrs old.  We completely understand this and aren’t blaming everything on a neurological problem!  God help all parents of 3-yr olds!!  Maya was horrid at 3 also.  That was when her hitting phase seemed to peak.  Criminy, I thought I would die of humiliation and frustration before THAT lovely phase ended.  Phew.  So I see light at the end of the tunnel.. and am very much looking forward to Devika’s 4th birthday (which will be in August.  Yikes.)   I can say that we are very, very lucky that Devi is a very happy child.  She does not act out in frustration/anger very often – she is always smiling and laughing.   Of course that is a double-edged sword in that she does not seem to understand consequences at all.. nothing phases her.. everything is funny.

      Devi’s physical health has been pretty good.  She eats well, but is still very lactose intolerant.  I have a future appmt made with a GI specialist at Children’s Hospital to evaluate this.. as well as the fact that she still is not gaining as much weight/growing as well as her pediatrician would like to see.  She’s still holding at about 20 lbs.  She HAS grown, however, so I’m not as paranoid about this issue as I was at this time last year.
      Other than that, Devika is a smart and very entertaining child!  She is absolutely adorable.  She has the cutest run lately – it is a cross between a run while kicking her legs up behind her, and a fast hip-swaying dance.   Hysterical!  She still loves to hug and kiss, and has taken up singing songs.  She still has that flat toddler-singing-tone, as well as her norm deep voice, so her singing voice is somewhat painful and extremely cute.

      Devika’s Best of 2010:

      Color:  Pink or Orange.  Not that she particularly LIKES these colors – but she still does not seem to have the ability to label colors and calls everything ‘pink’ or ‘orange’.  She knows all the color names, but she cannot tell you what color something is.  This color issue of hers is another thing that we will be examining through her Star Center therapy program.  No one is quite sure what is up with this.  Could she be color-blind?  She also has a vision appmt at Children’s Hospital next month.
      TV Show:  Caillou (lucky us, eh?  Eek)
      Movie:  Alvin and the Chipmunks (yes, you can see some Maya-idolism here, right? J)
      • Anything she can repeat after Maya.
      • “I LIKE STINKY CHEESE!  I LIKE STINKY CHEESE!” (don’t ask.. I only know that yes indeed.. she does enjoy eating stinky cheese)
      • She also has a ‘song’ (no words, just the tune) that she sometimes sings, which is a little bit appalling.. it is from Alvin & The Chipmunks and it strongly resembles music from a porn movie!!  This is the meaning behind it in the movie.. a little adult humor that my 3-yr old somehow grabbed hold of and can’t let go of.. argh!!
      • ‘Buttman’.  Devi will, often and without warning, suddenly stop what she is doing and sing ‘du du du du du du du du BUTTMAN!’.  Granted she is trying to say ‘Batman’.. but she cannot pronounce it correctly yet.   
      Food:  Chicken Nuggets, noodles with butter, grapes, or anything pureed that she can spread all over her body and hair while she eats. 
      Drink:  Propel (my dad has caused my girls to become propel-addicts!) or juice. 
      Best Friends:  Lovey (which is a turtle-shaped cloth book), Blankie, Maya
      Favorite Clothing:  Pajamas
      Future Occupation:  maybe a famous female soccer player?  The girl has got some amazing athletic talent!  Can’t wait to put her in soccer this summer.

      So that’s a little update on my babies! 

      Everything else in life is holding steady.  I am not having much time lately for photography, though I shoot a job here and there.  Aj changed jobs recently, and does not travel as much these days.  Because of this, I am working toward changing my photo career back to weddings-only.  I so need the artistic edge that you just can’t get when shooting kids and families.  I love, love artistic photography and I miss it.  Wedding photography also gives a nice ‘rush’ and feeling of accomplishment to me.. something I haven’t found anywhere else.  The photographer who trained me, back in Cincinnati, once told me that he likened the post-wedding-shoot ‘rush’ to be equal to that of a cocaine-rush.  As I have never dabbled in that level of recreational drug (I’ll stick with occasional vino and lots of caffeine!), I will take his word for it. 
      Whatever it is – I miss it.

      So there you have it I guess.  Farewell to 2010 and a look forward to 2011. 
      May this new year bring health and prosperity to all of you.. and to my family.  My siblings have dealt with some major illnesses, surgeries, etc lately – and we need to move on to a healthy year!  Oh, I guess that also includes me.. as I had knee surgery last month to repair some torn cartilage and damage caused by arthritis (how in the #%^# am I old enough to have arthritis damage??).  I am very excited to report that just this past week I have been able to go up and down stairs without major pain.. and am no longer limping!!  I had been in quite a bit of pain since the injury in mid-September.  My big goal for 2011 was to run again, and yesterday I ran (slowly) my first mile!! 
      Happy New Year!!

      Keep On Swimming


      So much time has passed since I blogged - hard to believe!    
      So here is the latest news from my little spot in the world..

      First of all, I am somewhat broken.  Literally.  
      I had been running again.. getting back into my groove.. feeling good.  I love to run, as I find that it is the only activity that helps 'center' me.  Clears my mind, makes life take on a bit of a positive glow.  Allows me to eat more fattening food without causing tight-jean-syndrome.  :)  
      The last run that I had was 3 weeks ago.   It was a normal run - a bit of right knee pain in the beginning until I truly warmed up.. and then smooth-going.  Later that day, however, I was holding Devika and had my foot planted - turned my body - and heard the dreaded 'pop' that no runner (or anyone else for that matter) wants to hear.  And so it began...

      The past 3 weeks have been increasingly more painful.  My primary physician had examined me a few days post-injury and suggested we try physical therapy before contacting an orthopedic surgeon or getting an x-ray or mri.  I've endured many PT sessions now and each has become more hideously painful and less productive due to pain.  I'm convinced that 99% of physical therapists are fulfilling some form of a sadistic fetish!!!

      I finally was able to get in with an orth surgeon this past Monday, who told me that I'm textbook for a meniscus tear - and he set me up for an MRI that took place yesterday.  This coming Monday, I will find out the details and likely be scheduling a surgery.  In the meantime, he told me to use crutches whenever possible.  
      Have you ever tried to care for 2 small children and walk with crutches?  Not easy I tell you!  Quite the challenge.  Needless to say, the crutches spend most of their days leaning against the wall.

      But enough about me.  

      My girls are doing pretty well lately.  Maya is in kindergarten and is progressing amazingly well!  I am so very proud of her.  Today was a teacher/parent conference - my first!  Maya's teacher told me that Maya tested high - she should be in the 1st grade reading and math.. but her fine motor skills are a little delayed/slow.. so they kept her in the kindergarten level classes.  I agree that this is the right thing to do - she is very slow when writing/reading/thinking through her answers.  She LOVES homework, but it takes her ~2 hours instead of the probably 30 minutes that it should take.  We are working on this..

      Maya also has made some good friends in kindergarten.  Her best buddy is a boy named Garret.  All day and night I hear stories about Garret.  :)  So cute!  They play in the dirt every day during recess.  The girl comes home from school simply covered in sand/dirt from head to foot!  Lately they have been 'building bonfires'.  
      The only thing that Maya is constantly upset by at school (other than occasional random kindie drama) is that she can't run fast.  She claims to be the slowest kid in the class.  She also gets upset that she can't run as fast as Garret.  She is sure that it is her shoes - we are on the lookout for super-fast shoes to replace her 'slow' sneakers.  

      Devika is enjoying her preschool class also.  We have experienced 2!! days of drop-offs where she did not scream and cry and try to hold on to my leg.  Baby steps..

      I am, however, becoming concerned about Devi and some of her behaviors. 

      Approximately 2 weeks ago, Devi began doing an odd self-soothing type of behavior.  At first it only seemed to occur when she was extremely tired.  Unfortunately, it seems to be becoming more and more frequent.  She lays on her tummy in what Maya calls her 'froggy' position (a fetal-type position but on her tummy).  She then rocks herself and makes a very odd and slightly loud breathing-noise.  She won't stop doing it - I really have to work at a distraction to get her up off of the floor.  I'm afraid she might even be doing this at school on occasion, though her teachers haven't mentioned it to me. Her nanny (2 days/week) told me that the teacher mentioned that Devi was very tired on Monday.  I assume she was doing her rocking and this is what prompted the teacher to say this.  She was rocking while her nanny was here that day - at Chik Fil A during lunch and then at home.
      This seems to be a 'stimming' type behavior.  We haven't seen Devi do this type of thing since her first months at home with us.

      Another odd thing that Devi does is to over-scratch any itchy spots she might have on her body.  I thought this might be just a bit more than normal, but her nanny has voiced concern over it also (her nanny was Maya's nanny a couple years ago and has been in childcare/daycare all her life - and is 50 yrs old).  If Devi has a little cut or itch, it takes forever to heal b/c she won't leave it alone.  Right now she has a small rash on her bum and she keeps scratching at it until it bleeds if we don't see her and make her stop.
      The other worrisome behavior is Devi's repetitive behavior.  She will say the same word or phrase over and over and over.  Until I want to put my head through a wall.  I had asked her OT about this, back in June when it seemed to be getting very annoying (btw she no longer qualifies for at-home OT due to her age, so we don't have an OT to work with now - she gets OT at school but they never talk to us about it), and was told that this is a pretty normal 2/3-yr old behavior.  While I agree that it CAN be.. I don't think that what we are dealing with falls into this realm.  
      Again, a friend of mine who runs a small daycare told me today that she felt this was something new (she has watched Devi on many occasions in the past) she is seeing with Devi and NOT something normal.  
      All the time she does this.. 'Mommy.. mommy.. mommy.. mommy.. ' - and she doesn't need anything.  If I can get her to stop repeating this in order to find out if she needs to tell me something - she never has anything to say.  Sometimes she will just say 'I love you'.. and then start again.  She did this with my friend today also - 'Miss J.. Miss J.. Miss J.. Miss J.. '.  
      Luckily, I have not heard that she does this at school.. yet.  At school she just can't sit still.  She often sits in a special chair at circle time that has 3 sides to keep her contained.. and she is flipping around inside the chair constantly.  I might have mentioned this once before.. her teachers took a short video of this for me.  

      What scares me about all of this is that these all seem like autism-related behaviors.  Devi's previous OT had assured me that D was in no way autistic b/c she has pretty good verbal skills and does not have major social issues.  I was glad to hear that, but as these behaviors keep increasing, I am finding myself getting worried about this again.  And not that our family could not deal with it - 'autism' doesn't equate to something completely traumatic/hideous to us or anything.  I just want to ensure that Devi has the best care possible for whatever challenges she might be encountering.  If she needs further evaluation or therapy, I want to make sure that she gets it.

      I am now in the process of completing the 'Getting Started' paperwork for the Star Center.  This is a therapy center in Denver that specializes in treating Sensory Processing Disorder.  D's pediatrician recommended we take her there, and we had actually been already considering it from the advice of a friend.  Now I am feeling a sense of urgency that we get her there and be sure we are getting all the help that we possibly can for her.  

      So that is the latest.  So happy that it is getting cool and crisp outside now - it is time for pumpkin patches and apple cider - and pumpkin spice lattes!  Speaking of which, I think it is time for my 3:00 caffeinated pick-me-up.  :)

      Love, Your Institutionalized Mother

      Dear Maya & Devika,

      Though I am not yet in a straight jacket, dictating this blog entry or typing with my toes.. nor am I creating this entry from the depths of a rehab facility.. I look at these future possible situations with a feeling of resignation and possibly a little anticipation.  
      A nice, clean-white!, cozy room with upholstered walls.. and silence?  Hmm.. sounds quite spa-like to me at the moment!

      If you girls are ever wondering - hm, what happened to mom?  If you are ever looking at pictures of mama prior to raising children and think, 'wow - mom looked so nice!  Clean clothes with no wrinkles (btw I was once a wrinke-phobe).. perfectly coiffed hair.. a relaxed smile on her face..' - well, today is one of those days that made the 'me-of-the-past' recede even further into the cobwebby-recesses of my memory.

      Let's just take a little walk through our day together, and remember these special moments, shall we? :

      12:00 am:  I fall asleep after being very worried about my brother, who is in a Chicago hospital with a major infection in his surgical incision area.  HIs jaw was reconstructed 2 wks ago (that's a long story - totally bizarre disease he has which has only ~138 known cases worldwide - most of them in Asia.  Caused a cancer-like issue that ate away at his jaw.  Had to be replaced w/a metal jaw and now reconstructed using bone from his hip.  Owch.).

      12:30 am:  Maya appears at my bedside, ~2" from my face and frightens me awake.  I walk her back upstairs to her bed.

      3:45 am:  Maya appears at my bedside, ~2" from my face and frightens me awake.  I walk her back upstairs to her bed.

      5:30 am:  Maya appears at my bedside, ~2" from my face and frightens me awake.  I walk her back upstairs to her bed.

      6:10 am:  My alarm sadly awakens me from the partial sleep I had fallen back into.

      8:40 am:  Maya and I are dropping Devika at her first day of preschool.  We are standing outside in a crowd of moms, dads, and grandparents (most kids seem to have extended families present plus video and still cameras to immortalize this moment.  No camera in MY hand.. for I know what is coming!), waiting for the preschool teachers to open the doors, have us sign the kids in, and then lead them from us into the classroom.

      8:41 am:   Devika yells, "Mommy!  I TOOTED!!"
      8:41:10 am:   Devika yells, "I TOOTED!  I TOOTED!!"
      8:41:20 am:   Devika yells, "Mommy!  I talking to you!  I TOOTED!!  I TOOTED!!" 

      8:45 am:  Teachers open the door and Devi realizes she now has to part from me.  She proceeds to melt down completely.  A look of terror appears on her face - she begins screaming and crying and running for me.  I pick her up and hand her to one of the teachers, trying to avoid the torrent of kicks and clawing of hands at my clothing.  "Bye-bye Devika!  You will have a fun day at school!  I love you!"  
      8:45:10:  I maneuver myself and Maya thru the crowd of staring parents/grandparent/wide-eyed children.. smiling slightly and looking nonchalant.   Just wait, I think, for this to happen EVERY morning for lord-knows-how-many-months.  

      9:30:  Maya and I are in Target, picking up a new booster carseat for her (the airline lost HALF of her booster seat in-transit a couple weeks ago).  We stop in the restroom.  I go into the stall and Maya asks to remain outside the door.  
      Maya:  'are you ok in there honey?'   Me:  'I'm fine, thank you'
      Maya then launches into one of her imagination games (as always.. and I do mean always).  Not sure what today's scenerio was exactly, but she was talking to an imaginery person and saying, 
      "She isn't here yet, she is practicing her pole-dancing"
      I note that there is one other woman in a stall.  All is silent other than Maya's non-stop chatter to her imaginery friend.  "She will be here soon, she WANTS to be here.. but she is pole-dancing.  She has to work on her pole-dancing."
      She continues to say 'pole-dancing' at least 10x before I manage to flush and get out the stall door.  I ask her what she is talking about.. and just then the other occupied stall door opens and .. it is the mom of a girl that Maya went to school with last year.  
      But of course it is, right?

      3:30 pm:  Devika has an appmt at the pediatrician to have her left ear flushed.  She failed a hearing test in that ear a few weeks ago.  Turned out that it did have a good amt of wax build-up, which was covering the entire eardrum.  She did NOT like the flushing.  She might only weigh 20 lbs (actually 20.5 as of today).. but WOW.  She is strong!!  Small but mighty!!  She freaked out completely.  I seriously had to almost lay on top of her in order to hold her legs, arms, and head down.  She was kicking and twisting, etc.  And SCREAMING.  'I SCARED!!' and then just blood-curdling screams.  Like we were pulling out her fingernails or something!  It was hoooorrible.  
      I understand that she did not quite understand what was happening, and it WAS scary for her.  I felt so bad!  Nothing I said or did would help her.  And it seemed to take forever for the nurse to flush it!  Meanwhile, Devi - the nurse- and I were all soaked in the peroxide/water mixture.  Lovely.
      I would imagine that any child in that office was completely terrorized and traumatized by her today!  Not to mention Maya.  Poor thing was so upset by how upset Devika became, that she was bawling her head off.  I had to ask the nurse to let her sit outside the door with some books.  It helped only a little.  :(

      So my dear little daughters.. much as I love you, you do cause me extra trips to the hair stylist to cover my ever-growing amount of gray hair.  You have caused me to give up my ironing and become one with my wrinkle-y clothes.  You have led to increased revenue at the local wine shoppe, which must be nice for them with the current economic conditions.

      If you are bothered by the fact that someday you are forced to visit me inside an institution.. please remember why I am there, and know that I am probably enjoying myself.  

      Much Love,  Mommy 

      Get Shopping!


      Maya (playing 'heart doctor'): Devi, we are going to activate your medicine. 

      Devi: What?       

      Mommy: I think Devi does not understand what you are saying.

      Maya: Ok Devi, I mean we are going to acknowledge that you are sick. You have nitro-arelekalites in your stomach. You need an enema.

      I so enjoy my daughter's expandng vocabulary and imagination!  Though I can say for sure that I would not want to be her patient in this game!


      A few products that I feel the need to promote today:

      GAP 1969 Super Skinny Jeans for girls  

      O M G!  Super happy day when we discovered these.  Maya and I went school clothes shopping, and every pair of pants and pant-like-leggings at all of the stores were much too large for her.  Finally we pop into GAP.. and there they are.  Big display just inside the store:  SUPER SKINNY 1969 JEAN

      I thought, hmm.. too good to be true?  We tried the jeans on - and - lo and behold!  They FIT!!  The legs fit perfectly, the butt didn't sag, and I only needed to adjust the waist a couple of button settings!!  WOW!  

      If you have a skinny-skinny kiddo, you absolutely need to check these out immediately.  They are $29.50 each, but are currently buy one, get the 2nd for $10.  PLUS you will get a card (don't forget to request one, they seem to 'forget' this promo) to have stamped for each full-price pair that you purchase.  After purchasing 4 pair, you get the 5th for free!  The card promo is good through July of 2011.

      My Creations - Personalized stories for unique families

      Ok, I might be promoting this item a bit early, as I do not have an actual book in my hand.  I think that the web gallery of the books is adorable however, and I cannot wait to get the book I recently ordered for Devika!  I wanted it for her b-day, but it won't be here on time.  Oh well, she really doesn't understand the birthday concept yet anyhow.  She just knows that birthday = Barney cake.  :)  {yikes.. better get that cake ordered!!}

      Anyhow, check this out!  I love how the books are made with cute cartoon people, and are personalized according to your family's situation.  I love how they have categories for domestic adoption (open and closed), international adoption, IVF, surrogate, etc.  Very very cool way to continue open discussion with your young child about the way your family was created.  Also a fun gift - I purchased a gift certificate for a friend who recently adopted a baby.

      Custom Adoption Films - Oh and while we are plugging adoption-related items, don't forget that my photography and film-creation business creates adoption-story custom films!  My kids LOVE to watch their films.  It's another great way to share their story with them and with other friends/family members.  Check out my website for samples:


      I Write Like

      According to 'I Write Like' (, my blogging style of writing is that of David Foster Wallace.  Ok, pathetically, I do not know what David Foster Wallace has written.   My style is like his?  Poor guy..   ;)  Fun website though - if you blog or write, you should check it out.
      I Googled Mr Wallace, and I have to say that I might like his writing.. just from the titles of his books!  'Brief Interviews with Hideous Men', Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, 'A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments'

      Sadly, Mr Wallace committed suicide in 2008.  Criminy.. the places you find yourself while surfing.  Now I'm a bit sad about some guy that I had never heard of 10 minutes ago.  What a tangled web the internet weaves.